Releasing your medical records to another driver’s company limits the amount of compensation you may see from an insurance claim. You should not sign away a blanket medical release where an insurance agent can pull any medical records they want. Insurance adjusters have no incentive to help you and every incentive to work against you.
However, recovering from a car accident doesn’t allow you to deny any insurance adjuster access to your medical records carte blanc. Ultimately, there are certain medical records they need, and you’ll never get paid if they can’t get basic medical information on your injuries. How do you find the balance between these demands? When in doubt, work with an experienced personal injury attorney in Atlanta.
The Truth Behind the Insurance Company’s “Medical Release”
Most of the time, insurance companies will send you a “medical release” form asking for permission to view your medical history. If you sign a medical history release, you can give a provider the right to look at any records related to your long-term care. Experienced attorneys recommend that you do not sign these forms.
Signing a medical release form can specifically compromise your right to a fair settlement by allowing a provider to:
- Pull records on pre-existing conditions
- Pull records that may undermine your case
- Use these records to suggest that your injuries aren’t from the car accident at all
If you do receive a medical history release form from a provider, consider bringing it to the attention of the personal injury lawyers in Atlanta. Our team can assess the negligence that led to your auto accident and help you determine how to provide medical authorization to interested insurance carriers safely.
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What Kind of Medical Records Does a Provider Need?
To process an accident victim’s claim, providers need:
- Medical records directly related to the injuries from the accident
- Documents, such as X-rays that show the injuries (if available)
- Proof of the kind of treatment you have received or have been recommended to receive
That is all of the documentation you must provide to the at-fault party’s insurance provider.
What does this mean? If you have a broken wrist, a provider needs a diagnosis, X-rays, and documentation related to the care of that injury.
A provider doesn’t need to know about your carpal tunnel from work four years ago. It doesn’t need to know that you have osteoporosis. It doesn’t need any other medical information unrelated to the injury. Period.
Under no circumstances do they need documentation of your pre-existing conditions, and you should never turn over this documentation to them (or even discuss such conditions with them). Likewise, you should never sign a general consent form for them to access your medical records.
Don’t Aid an Insurance Company
You need to understand that insurance companies aren’t working with you for your benefit. What they want to do is get you to settle for the lowest amount of compensation possible. This way, they can protect their bottom line and save money.
Never accept the initial settlement they try to offer you, and don’t give them anything they can use against you. Providers can use all kinds of information against you, including well-meaning apologies and jokes, to weaken your chances of securing fair compensation.
Getting Ahead of a Company’s Bad Faith Behavior
Fortunately, you can get ahead of this bad-faith misconduct. An experienced car accident lawyer in Atlanta can walk you through the claims process, allowing a provider limited access to your information while protecting your right to comprehensive damages.
Car accident damages can cost you thousands of dollars. A recent report on the economic well-being of American homes showed that most people can’t even afford a $400 emergency expense without suffering financial strain. Never settle for anything less than full compensation for damages caused. You shouldn’t go into financial ruin for a car accident that wasn’t your fault. By helping a provider in any way, you run that risk.
How a Lawyer Protects You from the Insurer
When you hire a car accident lawyer, the insurance company is immediately cut off from talking to you. All of their requests have to go through the attorney, who can vet them and decide which requests are reasonable. If the insurer calls or writes you, you should simply tell them you have an attorney, give them that attorney’s information, and stop talking.
Your attorney will work to identify the medical records the insurance company needs and give them just those records, nothing more, nothing less. That’s why it’s important to have a lawyer handling your case for you.
A car accident lawyer will provide the insurance company with only the records they need and will make sure you have documentation for the injuries you’re claiming in your accident. Your lawyer will protect you so that providers can’t take advantage of you.
Get a Free Consultation for Your Car Accident Case Today
At John Foy & Associates, we offer a comprehensive, no-cost consultation with an experienced lawyer. Act now to get the legal advice and guidance you need!
Remember, time is of the essence. According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 9-3-33, you have a limited window of just two years to file your claim.
Don’t miss your opportunity for justice and compensation. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your car accident case. Our dedicated team is ready to help you navigate your legal options and take the necessary steps towards your claim.